Sunday, September 28, 2008

Finishing a "Finished" Painting

A student recently brought this painting to class (done outside the class) for a critique. First, though, he added two additional elements to it to try to balance the composition - the palette knife on the lower left and the tube of paint on the lower right. This did not really do the trick. The apple, because it contained the strongest light int he painting, is the focal point, located in the left third of the painting, not a good place for a focal point to be. The lighting on the vase is inconsistent with the level of the light on the apple. One brush, which enters the vase at the lower left "corner", would go through the outside of the vase if it followed the path indicated by the top of the brush. The student wanted to just paint over this painting with a new one. Instead, I asked if I could show him how he could improve this painting before he covered it up.

I modeled the apple a little better by adding form shadow to the right dide and bottom of the apple, which not only improved the roundness of the apple, but also decreased the amount of light in the left third of the painting. I added a stem and its shadow. I painted over the palette knife and the tube of paint with the color of the table and increased the light on the table as it approached the vase. My purpose from here on was to change the focal point from the apple to the vase, which would make the focal point more appropriately placed.

I corrected the middle value on the vase as it turned out of the light into the form shadow on the right and I lightened the light value on the left third of the vase. I then added highlights to the main body of the vase and made these, as well as the highlights on the neck of the vase, much lighter and more intense than the highlights on the apple.

I moved (repainted) the errant brush into a position that would allow its handle to stand upright int he vase. I also added slight highlights to the brush handles to add to the effect that the light was hitting this area of the painting strongly. I also added a reflected light on the right edge of the vase.The last thing I did was add another green apple, totally in shadow, to the area behind and to the right of the vase, to balance the composition. This is not a great painting, but it is much improved from its original state. And now it will lie beneath a hopefully successful new painting for many years to come! My thanks to my student for allowing me to demonstrate this.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Portrait in Progress

I am currently working on two portraits, going back and forth as necessary to keep working as paint is drying. I don't usually do this but I really must complete these, so I am putting in every effort to complete them as soon as I can. My clients have been incredibly understanding of the delays and I don't want to keep them waiting any longer than I have to.

The work in progress I am showing on the left (detail above) shows the painting with only the face in a greater state of completion than the initial block-in. The painting on the right is at its current stage which includes a more complete upper half background, the hat and right arm with more work done on them, and new paint applied to part of the shirt. When I view images on the computer I get to see them in a new light, so to speak, and areas that need more work become more apparent to me. For example, I want to lighten the boy's upper lip on his right and darker side. It is a little too dark, I think. If you click on the image of the more complete detail above, you should see what I am referring to.

I will post some new photos as I make more progress.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Exhibition at Chateau Elan

Today I was in Braselton, GA at Chateau Elan Winery and Resort, where I hung an exhibition of paintings by yours truly as well as paintings by six of my painting students: Carol Parks of Asheville, NC, Riki Fiebel of Hayesville, NC, Ginny Urani of Murphy, NC, and Sharon Mullings, Gene Lawrence, and Henna Karavitch, all of Blairsville, GA. A special thank you to Henna, as she is responsible for our being asked to show our work at Chateau Elan. All of the paintings I've posted to my blog of late were included in this exhibition and I am very proud to say that the paintings by these other fine artists look wonderful on the wall in the Winery's art gallery! If you are in the area of Chateau Elan, you might enjoy a visit to see the exhibition and enjoy a little wine-tasting to boot! Unfortunately, I used my sister's car to deliver the paintings and had left my camera in my car in the garage! When I get back down there I will get some photos and post them here. The paintings will hang there until the end of October.

Now that this deadline has passed I will be back to my portrait commissions, which have suffered serious neglect while I prepared work for this show. But they are in progress and I will resume work on them immediately...right after my weekly class! I'll post some progress photos shortly.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

And Yet Another Huge Flower!

Iris, Standing Tall, 30 x 22, Watercolor, copyright Pat Aube Gray

I am not really sure what is driving my muse these days, but large flowers are uncharacteristic for me. I completed the painting of this huge iris this morning and you may recall that back on July 13, 2008 I posted Brooke's Texas Rose, another full sheet of watercolor paper occupied by a single oversized yellow rose. (It is simply coincidence that I named the painting for my daughter Brooke's love of Texas, the yellow rose tattoo on her leg, and the fact that it was her birthday!) When my other daughter, Kerry, died last year, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the flowers we brought home, some of which I identified with her natural beauty. In particular, there was a huge, and I do mean huge, white rose, glorious in its fragrance, its size, and the singular beauty of it, and it became a symbol for me of my daughter's natural grace and simple elegance. I vowed then to someday paint that white rose, or one like it, in memory of Kerry. I have not yet done it as I am simply not ready to, I am afraid I could not do it justice, and I have not come across another rose that has the magnificence of that one. Perhaps these other flower paintings are baby steps leading me toward the white rose, or perhaps they are the result of a deeper appreciation for and connection to the simple, yet elegant beauty that we sometimes take for granted. It is interesting to me, too, that I have chosen to paint these flowers in watercolor instead of the oil I have used so much of late. But these subjects beckoned me to watercolor and the attempt to achieve the luminosity inherent in sunlit flower petals. Kerry's favorites were sunflowers, with roses a very close second. Do not be surprised to see more flower paintings...a giant sunflower, perhaps?